A man who worked for Municipal District Services died in a trench of mud
and dirt on Dec. 5. According to officials with the Harris County Public
Infrastructure Department, the worker was called to the location after
CenterPoint accidentally hit a water main while working on a gas line.
Despite the efforts of rescue workers after the trench collapse, the search
turned into a recovery effort.
Municipal District Services was called to the industrial site to repair
the broken water main. At about 10:15 p.m., a 20-foot trench collapsed
on the two workers who were inside. The responding Cy Fair Volunteer Fire
Department reported that the walls of the opening were not properly shored
up, which allowed the wet, soft dirt and mud to collapse and cover both
men. A firefighter said that the opening was 6 feet wide and 12 feet long.
The fire department also said that one of the workers was able to climb
his way out of the trench while the other worker remained trapped inside.
The man who escaped was taken to a hospital in the area and was treated for
back injuries, but he was in good condition. The day after the incident, construction
crews returned to the site to install a shoring box and repair the water main.
If, after the accident investigation is complete, it is determined that
reasonable steps were not taken by the employer to protect the employees,
the family members of the deceased might have the option of filing a
wrongful death suit against the company. Any award from the claim might help with the
financial loss that burdened the family as a result of their loved one's
death, such as funeral costs, lost income and lost benefits.